How do you see this playing out?
Some interesting things are going on in Israel, and we ought to take note of it. The first thing, the current prime minister in Israel [Ehud Olmert] is a very capable guy. And he is a realist. … But he isn’t Ariel Sharon. He’s not a warrior. He has a genetic mistrust of the uses of bombs and airplanes to conduct foreign policy.
But when you are attacked you respond, and he did. And he has been very clearly signaling that there are limits here. While Condi Rice and George Bush talk about Syria and Iran, Olmert has taken Syria and Iran off the table, put them back on, and then taken them back off.
When Hezbollah attacked Haifa Thursday, first Hezbollah said, “We didn’t do it.” Then they said, “We didn’t target Haifa.” No one picked up on it. Here’s what they meant to say: “We understand hitting Haifia is a major escalation, and we didn’t mean to do that.”…
Olmert responded, “You get Haifa, we’ll take down Beirut,” and he went after Beirut. So far as I can tell, since then, Haifa has been off limits.
Now so far as I can tell, there are rules here. And the rules are, you take down our major cities and we’ll make life very uncomfortable for you. And Olmert put Damascus back on the table as a clear warning. And I think [Syrian president Bashar al-] Assaad probably called Hezbollah -- over which he doesn’t have too much influence -- and said, “Did you hear that signal or not?” And they got it.
So now we’re in a game. … I expect we’ll see an escalation here over the next two days, but what I would expect to find after that is that both sides climb down off the ladder.
I hope this guy is right.